Saturday, 29 May 2010

An Ace Iced Tea

Iced MugichaThere's no doubt that Kyoto is a pretty amazing city: attractive canals; the occasional glimpse of a Geisha; great food (even for a veggie) and far more temples than you could possibly shake a stick (or ring a bell) at. But the most significant thing about Kyoto for me was that it was where I finally learned to look up. Finding addresses in Japanese cities is basically a nightmare; and finding a bar to pop into for a quick drink is no mean feat either. But in Kyoto I cracked it.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Maid in Japan

Shinjuku Tokyo taxiFrom reading my last post you could be forgiven for thinking that Japan is simply a country of tranquil tearooms, zen gardens and traditions stretching back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But, as I hinted, there is a whole other side to the place, and for my money it's a side every bit as interesting. Nowhere is this other side more evident than in Tokyo. Tokyo is quite definitely my kind of town: streets as busy as Oxford Street on a Saturday; neon lights that dazzle your eyes; and noise emanating from shops, arcades and even passing trucks. It may rain a lot (witness the umbrella cover dispensers outside every shop) and it may not be the most beautiful of places but it really feels alive.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Japanese Tea - The Bitter & The Sweet

Japanese matcha and wagashiSo, I'm finally back from my extended (thank you ash cloud) trip to Japan. And it was fantastic. I saw, ate and, of course, drank so many amazing things it's hard to know where to begin. Before I travelled eastwards I'd hoped that I might be able to have tea in at least one or two traditional tea houses, but I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be indulging virtually every other day! As wonderful and individual as each of these experiences was I think writing about all of them might stretch everyone's patience so I have decided to concentrate on the tea that made the biggest impact on me.